Cyber Monday: What It Is, When It Starts, and Current Trends

The Biggest Shopping Day of the Year

Santa-online.jpg
Even Santa shops online now. Photo: Purestock/Getty Images

What and When Is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday is November 28, 2016, the first Monday after Thanksgiving.  It's expected to be the biggest shopping day of the year. Shoppers will spend $3.36 billion online, a 9.4 percent increase. That means it would replace Black Friday, according to Adobe Digital Insights. (Source: "Cyber Monday Set to Be Largest Shopping Day in History," Forbes, November 17, 2016.)

Most shoppers (75 percent) dive in first thing Monday morning. Twenty-five percent shop during lunch and 34 percent go online Monday night. Only 19 percent take advantage of Cyber Monday sales the rest of the week. 

Nearly a third of shoppers begin Cyber Monday shopping on Sunday. That's becoming more and more popular. It used to be that shoppers needed the faster internet speeds from work computers. Now, most personal laptops and mobile devices are as fast as work computers. 

Cyber-Monday is starting earlier because most online retailers start their Cyber Monday deals earlier. In fact, top stores like Wal-martTarget, and Amazon start Cyberweek sales on Thanksgiving Day itself. The best way to get in on their deals is to sign up for their email newsletters.

What Are the Sales Trends for Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday is becoming more popular while Black Friday is becoming less so. Cyber Monday was christened by Shop.org in 2005.

 Each year since then, new records are set as more and more people enjoy the convenience of shopping online. Cyber Monday sales have more than tripled since 2009.

Year  Sales (in billions)Comments
2015$3.04 
2014$2.5 
2013$2.29Sales rose 20%t. Black Friday fell. 
2012$1.5Mobile devices equal 12.9%. (FatWallet)
2011$1.3Sales rose 17%. (comScore)
2010$1.038First time more than $1 billion. (comScore)
2009$0.887 

What Makes Cyber Monday So Popular

Cyber Monday shoppers are very clear about why they like the day. More than 40 percent of time-strapped shoppers said the 24-hour convenience is their highest priority. Almost as many listed their desire to avoid the crowds on Black Friday as their primary reason for shopping online. Nearly a third of online shoppers said they like the ability to easily compare prices.

The strong results on Cyber Monday are because of the aggressive sales offered by retailers with an online presence. Nearly 90 percent of retailers offered Cyber Monday sales. Nearly half of the retailers offered coupons or a percent off deals (45 percent), while more than one-third had limited-time-only promotions. Fewer (15 percent) promoted a free gift-with-purchase.

More than half of retailers to increase their "free shipping" budget, while one-third of retailers offered free shipping even earlier than ever. These retailers are smart because 36percent of shoppers surveyed said they'd increase their online shopping only if shipping were free.

Only a few online shoppers said they would buy less, thanks to expensive shipping charges. Others didn't like that they weren't able to see or handle their purchases ahead of time. Some customers didn't like having to wait for it to be shipped. 

Growing Importance of Mobile Technology and Social Media

Shoppers are using social media more than ever. Nearly one-third said they would go to a company's Facebook page to get additional information about Cyber Monday sales. Twice as many would look at customer reviews on the company's website before buying any products or services.

Online retailers respond to shoppers' use of mobile technology and social media by promoting there. More than half of retailers made sure their website sales were optimized for mobile devices. Another 20percent optimize for tablet device apps. More than a third use QR codes in magazine and billboard ads.

Online retailers also maximized their use of social media. Nearly three-quarters said they'd promote sales on their Facebook pages while more than 40 percent promoted on Twitter.

Nearly half (40 percent) of tablet users compare prices, while 20 percent redeem coupons. Most important, nearly a third go ahead and buy online using their tablets. (Source: National Retail Federation Annual Survey)

How to Get the Best Cyber Monday Deals

Retail sales can be found on CyberMonday.com, which features a schedule of what retailers offer deals at what times in a "Deal of the Hour" promotion. You can find sales from more than 800 online retailers.

ComScore reports that more than half of the deals consists of free shipping. Retailers also offered various price discounts. Other offers included free gifts with purchase.

Cyber Monday FAQ

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